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How intelligent is your Organization?

Having seen a number of IT Organizations from close quarters, I have seen that as organizations grow, they tend to morph into these bureaucratic, silo’d organizations that have a lot of intelligent people but tend to lose Organizational Intelligence.

As Organizations grow, here are some phenomena that occur that lead to loss of Organizational Intelligence:

  • Instead of Growth, Target is the new goal as growth that was once an organizational pursuit becomes a BU/departmental PnL target

  • Internal Competition increases amongst internal BU/departments as they go in pursuit of same business on a number of occasions

  • Information gate-keepers emerge Information that used to flow smoothly across the organization, now gets gatekeepers who control the flow & direction of information

  • Organization walls/structures become rigid – Organization Structures that were intended to be lines in the sand, now become these rigid structures that constrict the flow. People get locked into their BU’s and unable to break the shackles to move across within the organization

  • Organizational Agility reduces – Organizational rigidity leads to increase in follower-ship. Follower-ship tends to reduce creativity, adaptability & flexibility in organizations.

As a result, organizations lose the ability to harness the capacity to sense, make sense, and act in flexible, creative & adaptive ways.

Organizational Intelligence is the ability of the organization to identify, assimilate & analyse pockets of information across the organization (and even within the BU’s) to create insights & respond quickly & creatively to either their existing customers/prospects or even the market/industry that would enable the organization to gain competitive advantage.

Firmly believe that establishing ‘hard measures’ are vital to ensuring successful ‘cultural change’.

Accordingly, recommend that organizations take a holistic, structured & targeted approach to build/enhance Organizational Intelligence by focusing on the following:

I. Embrace Open Source - Start from the top, the leadership should start making the rationale behind their decisions open and clear to all employees. Do away with restricted access to information repositories, open information access to all employees across BU’s/departments (taking relevant information sensitivities into account)

II. Bring it main-stream - Make sharing information part of the daily job of every employee and provide incentives to employees whose inputs & creativity enable the organization to achieve business success in some way. Also focus on discouraging information hoarding as a source of power over a period of time through on-going focused & targeted measures.

III. Focus on win-win - Mandate cross-BU participation& involvement in creation of assets & solutions. Encourage people rotation within the organization as, the more connected the organization, increased trust and reduced barriers.

IV. Ensure Intent - Create a role/extend the responsibility of a senior consultant to collect, analyse, filter, make sense & translate the information. And to guard against dilution & avoid the risk of reduction in focus ensure responses & actions are a strategic activity with oversight at executive level.

In this intensely competitive business landscape, having the capacity to leverage Organizational Intelligence, gain insights and capture opportunities more quickly than rivals do, will be a definite source of competitive advantage & critical to your business success.


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